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The North American Carbon Program Google Earth Collection Peter C. Griffith , NACP Coordinator; Lisa E. Wilcox; Amy L. Morrell, NACP Web Group Organization: Science Systems & Applications, Inc. and the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office , NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Summary

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The North American Carbon Program Google Earth Collection

Peter C. Griffith, NACP Coordinator; Lisa E. Wilcox; Amy L. Morrell, NACP Web GroupOrganization:Science Systems & Applications, Inc. and the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


The central objective of the North American Carbon Program (NACP), a core element of the US Climate Change Science Program, is to quantify the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane in North America and adjacent ocean regions. The NACP consists of a wide range of investigators at universities and federal research centers. Although many of these investigators have worked together in the past, many have had few prior interactions and may not know of similar work within knowledge domains, much less across the diversity of environments and scientific approaches in the Program.

Coordinating interactions and sharing data are major challenges in conducting NACP. The Google Earth Collection on the NACP website ( provides a geographical view of the research products contributed by each core and affiliated NACP project. Other relevant data sources (e.g. AERONET) can also be browsed in spatial context with NACP contributions. Each contribution links to project-oriented metadata, or “project profiles”, that provide a greater understanding of the scientific and social context of each dataset and are an important means of communicating within the NACP and to the larger carbon cycle science community. Project profiles store information such as a project's title, leaders, participants, an abstract, keywords, funding agencies, associated intensive field campaigns, expected data products, data needs, publications, and URLs to associated data centers, datasets, and metadata. Data products are research contributions that include biometric inventories, flux tower estimates, remote sensing land cover products, tools, services, and model inputs / outputs.

Project leaders will be asked to identify these contributions to the site level whenever possible, either through simple latitude/longitude pair, or by uploading a KML, KMZ, or shape file. After post-processing, research contributions will be added to the NACP Google Earth Collection to facilitate discovery and use in synthesis activities of the Program.

Who is participating in NACP?

Where are they working?

There was a clear need at the program’s inception to provide a comprehensive, centralized list of the researchers participating in NACP. To this end, the NACP Agency Program Managers have been identifying the NACP core and affiliated projects, and to date we have information in our database on 181 projects. You can browse the complete list of NACP projects on the NACP website by selecting the Projects link from the left menu of the website (see right). Each NACP project is linked to a detailed Project Profile, the project-oriented metadata.Complete, up-to-date profiles promote interactions among scientists and assist agency program managers to create and consolidate a multidisciplinary science team. It is not enough for scientists to complete their individual projects: they must also collaborate to create interim synthesis products crucial to the Program’s long-term success. NACP project leaders can update their project profiles from the “Welcome” page of their website accounts.

What research products are contributed or needed by each NACP Project and by Synthesis Working Groups?

Project Profiles improve your understanding of how currently-funded North American Carbon Program research fits into the range of studies supported across the participating agencies by identifying:

    • the currently-funded, observational data and primary research products investigators expect to contribute to the NACP; and
    • similar contributions that investigators need from other sources.

The research contributions section (see left) of is an example of what can be done in this framework.

  • How can these project profiles contribute to the overall NACP Program Goals?
  • NACP investigators, the Science Steering Group and the CCIWG use the metadata in the project profiles to:
  • Identify participants for communication and coordination
  • Identify the range of funded research products
  • Identify gaps in funded activities
  • Find collaborators
  • Coordinate data collection, modelling, and sharing
  • Identify and contact the producers of needed data
  • Manage timelines of integrated research deliverables for agency program managers and working group leads.
  • Inform their discussions of the synthesis and integration necessary to meet the short-term goals of the NACP, as well as to plan for the longer term.
  • Report on NACP accomplishments (reports, presentations, publications, etc.)

Acknowledgement: The generous support given to us by NASA’s Terrestrial Ecology Program.